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Taxation Institute disappointed by financial planner exemption

Publication date: 23 Apr 10 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

Exempting financial planners from the New Tax Agent Services Regime for 12 months is a disappointing step backwards, according to the Taxation Institute of Australia.

The Institute said the Federal Government's decision was at odds with the legislation’s intention that anyone giving tax advice should follow consistent requirements in education, service levels and ethics to maximise consumer protection in this often difficult area.

"While we’re disappointed we also intend to make the most of what amounts to 12 months of consultation on this issue," said Tax Institute president David Williams.

"We have to ask where this leaves a consumer going to a financial planner for the next 12 months in terms of protection?

"People receiving and relying on tax advice from anyone - be it their accountant or a financial planner - should expect that the advisor not only meets the new regime requirements but that they as a client are covered by the protective measures that it offers.

"Tax agents have no issue with being exposed to greater scrutiny and professional requirements, but these should apply across the board. Many financial planners cannot help but give tax advice in the course of their work."

Mr Williams said the regime goes to the heart of strengthening the integrity of the tax system and the tax profession.

"Any blanket exemption of financial planners - who are clearly providing advice about the impact of the tax laws to a particular situation - can only damage the good work the law was intended to deliver," Mr Williams said.

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Media Contacts:
Robert Jeremenko, Senior Tax Counsel - Taxation Institute of Australia on 0468 987 300
Craig Regan - Lighthouse Communications (0408) 448 527